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2 months ago

HTC U11 vs. LG G6 first comparison: Making up ground

3
HTC U11 vs. LG G6

It takes serious work to get back into the flagship game in a meaningful way.

HTC has even less of a foothold in the flagship space than LG does, and the launch of the U11 is hoping to help propel HTC in similar ways to what the G6 has done for LG — picking up sales and improving after a lackluster 2016. For both phones, the way to get back on track is through doing all of the basics right, nailing the hardware and experience instead of reaching for gimmicks that end up hurting the message.

While their relative positions put them below the big leader Samsung in sales and mind share, the HTC U11 and LG G6 are actually quite comparable products. Here's how they line up.

Both phones focus on strength and heft rather than delicate design features.

Unlike the stark contrast in designs seen between the HTC U11 and Galaxy S8, the LG G6 feels more like a direct match for HTC's latest phone. The LG G6 of course has a distinct look with its relatively small bezels and 18:9 display, but the overall build feels of the same generation as the HTC U11. Both phones are unapologetically thick and robust, with metal frames that each feel strong rather than just looking svelte. The phones have a satisfying heft in the hand as a result, which plays into the feeling that both HTC and LG are focusing on strength and simplicity rather than design flair just for the sake of looking nice.

HTC's glass back is a cut above LG's typical color-coated glass. Not only does it offer a unique feeling of depth to the colors that help it stand out, but the way it wraps around the edges of the phone and meets the metal is exquisite. Flipping around to the front, though, HTC's larger bezels and capacitive navigation buttons feel set in the past compared to the LG G6. The displays themselves feel comparable in terms of quality, so it's really a personal preference on how you feel about the "standard" versus "tall" aspect ratio.

HTC takes the lead with a newer processor, but LG has a couple trump cards.

Launching a couple months later, HTC was able to get a newer Snapdragon 835 processor into the U11 compared to the last-gen 821 in the G6. Aside from that, the specs line up similarly — with LG taking the small advantage with a larger battery and of course retaining a headphone jack. Despite HTC doing very interesting things with its USB-C headphones and solid speakers, some people just won't get over the headphone jack omission. The cameras, too, line up similarly. The U11's 12MP with an f/1.7 lens matches up to the G6's 13MP and f/1.7 — there are slight differences in pixel size, but LG has proven to be getting really great quality out of its smaller pixels. Of course the G6 has the trump card of its wide-angle rear camera as well, which continues to go unmatched in the market.

The software styling differentiates these phones further, though again not as much as setting the U11 beside the Galaxy S8. LG has made a move toward simplicity and lowering the number of duplicate apps and services in the G6, and that's the track HTC has been on for a couple of years now. You can easily see that LG's overall interface design is a bit more heavy handed than HTC's, but neither phone hits you over the head with piles of excess features or software cruft. You could say HTC is living a bit in the past with its interface that hasn't changed substantially since 2015, but at the same time say that for all of LG's progress it has yet to catch up with modern software expectations. Pick your poison.

Moving on up

HTC and LG are both fighting similar battles trying to make up ground in the high-end space in 2017, and both the U11 and G6 are great devices to help them do just that. They each focus on having a solid phone with all of the proper internal specs, and just a couple of feature hooks to get people interested. LG has its dual cameras and small bezels, while the U11 offers better speakers, cleaner software and its unique "squeeze" functionality.

Both phones have considerable work to do to try and bring their respective companies back up to a high level in the flagship space, but the U11 and G6 each offer a compelling experience that make them worth considering in 2017.

HTC U11

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LG G6

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img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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2 months ago

HTC U11 preview: Shiny and squeezy

111
HTC U11

HTC's latest phone will try to convince you that squeezing is the next big thing in mobile. But beyond the quirky Edge Sense feature, the U11 dazzles with a shimmering metallic exterior and packs in all the power enthusiasts crave.

Unless you've already clawed your way to the top of the pile, standing out in the high-end smartphone market of 2017 is tough. These devices are commodities now, and making a phone — especially a high-end, high-priced phone — that's really different and better is more difficult than ever.

For an underdog like HTC, it's especially challenging. Last year the HTC 10 was praised for being a great all-rounder, but it didn't offer much besides the core formula of metal body + latest specs. Once upon a time, HTC had a near monopoly on high performance and great build quality in the Android space. The 10 served as a reminder of the extent to which the competition had caught up to, and in many cases, surpassed HTC.

There wasn't a great deal about the way the HTC 10 looked or what it did that was truly unique anymore. It did the same smartphone things as every other Android device, and it did them well, and that was about it. The foundations were solid, but relatively bare.

Forget the U Ultra and U Play — the is where the 'HTC U' brand story should have begun.

In its 20th anniversary year, HTC's new flagship is the U11, the name being a collision of old and new branding. Technically, it's the third member of the HTC U family, after the U Ultra and U Play — but honestly, forget those phones. The U11 is where the "U" brand story should have begun.

It's a phone with beautiful glass construction bathed in vibrant, shimmering colors — a leap beyond the relatively dull metal unibody of the HTC 10. On the inside, it has all the top-end specs and features you'd expect from a 2017 flagship, along with important improvements in HTC's own camera and audio tech.

See at Amazon

That's only part of it, though. What makes the U11 truly unique is Edge Sense, a feature built into the metal rim, which responds to a squeeze and which HTC is pushing hard with this phone's launch. And in a world where AI assistants increasingly compete for the same attention, HTC wants the U11 to serve as a hub, hosting Google Assistant, Amazon's Alexa, and more — in addition to its own Sense Companion app.

It's HTC's boldest flagship in years. Given that it's competing for shelf space and sales against the almighty Galaxy S8, it needed to be.

This past week we've spent a short time getting to know the HTC U11, and while it's made a good first impression, the jury's still out on a few of its core features.

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2 months ago

HTC U11 vs. Samsung Galaxy S8 first comparison: Market share matters

32
HTC U11 vs. Samsung Galaxy S8

It's tough to stand out in a market dominated by Samsung's latest flagship.

HTC's proper 2017 flagship, the U11, has arrived, and it hits the market just a few weeks after Samsung released its Galaxy S8. Though HTC is miles away from Samsung in terms of market share, it's attempting to make a flagship on the same level when it comes to specs, hardware, and experience.

In terms of overall dimensions, the HTC U11 lands in between the Galaxy S8 and S8+ but is a closer comparison to the smaller GS8 when it comes to screen area. We spent some quality time with both phones together to see how they stack up.

There are plenty of internal similarities between these phones, but the companies have taken distinctly different approaches to hardware. Samsung made big strides this year in shrinking bezels and moving to an extra-tall 18.5:9 display, but HTC is sticking with the old model of a 16:9 aspect ratio and rather large bezels all around. Even further, HTC's traditional capacitive keys and front-mounted fingerprint sensor are in stark contrast to Samsung's switch in 2017.

HTC's hardware execution is excellent, but the Galaxy S8 just feels futuristic.

HTC's design decisions feel a little antiquated in general, but doubly so when sat next to the sleek and futuristic Galaxy S8. On the other hand, there are clear advantages to having a fingerprint sensor that's right where you expect and a flat display with bezels that reduce accidental touches. The U11's 5.5-inch display is smaller diagonally than the Galaxy S8's, but because of its wider aspect ratio there's actually more display here — but combined with the larger bezels, the entire phone is larger to boot. That doesn't necessarily have large implications for actual use of the phone, but when you set the two together you do notice how dramatically narrower and easier to grip the Galaxy S8 is.

Size aside, the HTC U11's hardware is equally impressive as the Galaxy S8's. HTC's manufacturing quality continues to be excellent, and the back glass panel curves and flows more effortlessly than Samsung's with colors that catch your eye differently from all angles. You don't get the dramatic edge screen effect or the big sweeping metal curves of the GS8, but the U11 just feels so ... solid when you pick it up. There's some value in that.

In waiting to release the U11 well after the original U Ultra and U Play, it let HTC make some key component upgrades that help it be a proper competitor to the Galaxy S8. The Snapdragon 835 processor is of course one major improvement, but we're also looking at a different 12MP rear camera from the U Ultra that incorporates new phase detection auto focus and a fast f/1.7 lens. The rest of the specs line up identically to the Galaxy S8: 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, a 3000mAh battery and a QHD display resolution.

More: HTC U11 complete specs

HTC offers cleaner software ... but also, no headphone jack.

The one place Samsung is distinctly different here is with its inclusion of the 3.5 mm headset jack, which HTC has moved beyond. HTC includes some great USB-C headphones with the U11 that include active noise cancellation, as well as a USB-C to 3.5 mm adapter, but at this point this choice may still rub some people the wrong way. At the same time, HTC does offer a superior dual speaker setup on the U11 that can offer better sound at higher volumes than the Galaxy S8's single speaker.

HTC's software hasn't changed much in the past year (or two, if I think about it). On the upside, that means you're getting an extremely fast, smooth and generally bloat-free experience, with some light visual touches that nicely integrate into Google's Nougat software. But that also means some of HTC's apps are going to feel stale as you notice they're near identical to what you would've experienced on the last couple phones. The interface still feels consistent and everything looks fine, but it doesn't quite feel as modern as what other companies have on their latest phones.

Meanwhile Samsung has definitely pushed its interface into modern design expectations, and still offers a dramatically higher volume of apps and features so there's something here for everyone — even though that means it can be frustrating or overwhelming for those who want a simple and clean experience.

Fighting an uphill battle

In a high-end market so heavily dominated by Samsung, it's really tough for any phone to break out and take away sales. Despite the HTC U11 offering brilliant hardware and matching its internal specs, it's tough to pull ahead of the Galaxy S8. Phone buyers will have to be drawn to a few of the finer points in the U11's experience in order to choose it over Samsung — its brilliant colors, "traditional" dimensions and simpler software are its only real standout strengths compared to the Galaxy S8, while the lack of a headphone jack, wireless charging and strong brand recognition are hurting it.

It's not that the U11 is doing anything particularly wrong — and the phone overall seems to have what it takes to garner sales — but it doesn't necessarily have the standout features to grab the attention of average buyers who so often start with Samsung's latest phone as the default choice and work from there.

HTC U11

Amazon Sprint HTC

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Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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2 months ago

HTC U11 specs: Snapdragon 835, 5.5-inch QHD display, 12MP f/1.7 camera

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HTC U11

HTC's 2017 flagship boasts top-tier internals.

With the arrival of the HTC U11, the Taiwanese company kicks its new "U" brand into high gear, with a true 2017 flagship featuring suitably advanced internals. The short story: Snapdragon 835 — the first phone to use this chip across all regions — 4 or 6GB of RAM, 64 or 128GB of storage, 3,000mAh battery, new 12-megapixel UltraPixel 3 camera with upgraded HDR, and of course HTC's squeezy Edge Sense feature. Check out the longer version down below.

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2 months ago

HTC U11 is official: Snapdragon 835, UltraPixel 3 camera, Edge Sense squeeze input!

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HTC U11

HTC's 2017 flagship will be available unlocked in the U.S., and sold exclusively via launch carrier partner Sprint in the U.S.

HTC has hosted a special event in Taipei, Taiwan to officially unveil the new flagship phone for its 20th anniversary year: the HTC U11. The U11 follows in the footsteps of the U Ultra and U Play, released earlier in the year, with a refined version of that phone's "liquid glass" design — while introducing a pressure-sensitive, squeezable metal trim as part of the new Edge Sense feature.

It also boasts suitably high-end specs — the U11 is a 5.5-incher with a Quad HD SuperLCD 5 display, and it's powered by Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 835 chip, with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage in the U.S. and UK (some other regions will also carry a 6GB/128GB model). As is becoming increasingly standard for flagship phones, the HTC U11 is water and dust resistant, rated IP67. And the company has upgraded its 12-megapixel shooter — now dubbed an "UltraPixel 3" camera — with faster autofocus and an f/1.7 lens, and enhanced HDR capabilities thanks to the always-on HDR Boost feature.

See at Amazon

More: HTC U11 specs

Squeeze to start the camera, take a photo, open Assistant or launch your favorite app.

Edge Sense is the big new hardware feature HTC is focusing on with this phone, turning the entire outer frame itself into a programmable shortcut area. Squeezing the phone — either with a short or long grip — can launch the camera, Google Assistant, or any other app. Many of HTC's own apps have Edge Sense capabilities built in, and an add-on app launching shortly after the U11 goes on sale will allow you to map certain features of third-party apps to a short or long squeeze too, without the developer needing to update it.

Speaking of Assistants, the U11 will launch with Google Assistant, and Amazon's Alexa will be made available via a Play Store software update in the weeks following release. HTC says it's working to bring more AI assistants to the phone, and that they'll be treated as equals, with the same access to wake-up voice commands and Edge Sense's capabilities. In China, Baidu's DuerOS will provide Assistant functionality relevant to that market on the HTC U11.

Like the HTC Bolt and U Ultra, the U11 also abandons the 3.5mm headphone jack, and instead comes bundled with a pair of HTC USonic USB-C earphones, which have now been upgraded to include active noise cancellation. And elsewhere, HTC's BoomSound Hi-Fi system has been enhanced to bring volume in line with the company's older front-facing BoomSound speakers, thanks to the entire body of the phone acting as a resonant chamber.

More: HTC U11 hands-on preview

The HTC U11 will go on sale later in May, starting in select markets next week. The unlocked HTC U11 will sell for $649 in the U.S., and it'll also be available on Sprint, the exclusive carrier launch partner. In the UK, it's £649 SIM-free from Amazon, Very.co.uk, Argos, and will also be available at Carphone Warehouse, EE and O2. More regional carrier announcements should start popping up in the days ahead.

For more on HTC's latest creation, you'll want to check out our hands-on preview!

HTC U11

Amazon Sprint HTC

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Press release:

HTC Unveils New Flagship Smartphone Made for the Brilliant U: Meet the HTC U11

HTC U11 combines revolutionary new squeeze interaction with stunning liquid surface design, intelligent personal audio, amazing cameras, and multiple AI assistants for a smarter smartphone

TAIPEI – May 16, 2017 – You affectionately squeeze the hand of the one you love. A baby intuitively squeezes her mother's finger. A child squeezes his teddy bear to feel safe at night. Nothing feels as close, connected and personal as the sensation of touch or the warmth of an embrace. And no device is as personal in our lives as our smartphone. Inspired by the power of touch and the Brilliant U, HTC today unveiled HTC U11, the world's first smartphone with revolutionary new squeeze interaction. Made for "U" with design, materials, and experiences that reflect your inner drive, passion, creativity, and individuality, HTC U11 offers the most advanced features ever in a smartphone, including:

  • HTC Edge Sense, the next dimension in touch interaction with your phone.
  • Liquid Surface, a stunning, unique design that reflects you.
  • HTC USonic, our most advanced headset ever built for personal audio, now including Active Noise Cancellation.
  • Amazing cameras with the highest independent rating ever awarded to a smartphone camera1.
  • HTC Sense Companion, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa for a smarter, more helpful smartphone2.

All together, HTC U11 sets a new standard of what you can expect from a smartphone.

U touch

  • Few things are as natural and intuitive as the sense of touch. HTC Edge Sense transforms this fundamental sense into a completely new and revolutionary interaction with your phone. With a simple squeeze, HTC Edge Sense lets you easily engage with your phone in an unprecedented yet intuitive way, helping you more naturally enjoy the things you love like taking photos, opening Facebook, or launching any of your favorite apps.
  • For example, with HTC Edge Sense, launching your camera has never been easier. No more fumbling for buttons or awkward hand positions. No more worrying about dropping your phone while you pose. Just lift, squeeze, smile, and snap.
  • You can also send texts faster and easier than before. Texting can be impossible when you are on the move, but using HTC Edge Sense for Voice to Text, you can speak your text messages without having to slow down. Lightly squeeze, speak your message and send your texts on the go.
  • You can even customize the squeeze gesture: open email with just a squeeze. Or launch your favorite game (or any other app). Or pick any one of a host of options. Want even more touch control? HTC Edge Sense gives you the ability to activate advanced touch and use a "short squeeze" as well as a "squeeze and hold" for even more functionality at your fingertips.
  • And because Edge Sense is based on actual pressure applied to the side of the device, it can be used in nearly any condition – including while wearing gloves or in weather such as snow or rain that would normally be a challenge with capacitive buttons.

Reflects U

  • HTC U11's liquid glass surface is crafted to impress using Optical Spectrum Hybrid Deposition. By layering highly-refractive precious minerals across the phone's back cover, we've created vivid new colors that transforms light with every movement you make.
  • The new seamless, curved look of HTC U11 is achieved with 3D glass on both front and back. Heating and then bending the glass using extreme pressure results in unique, 3-axis symmetry for a phone that is slim no matter which way you hold it.
  • HTC U11 has a 5.5" Quad HD 3D glass screen designed for vivid, crisp images and text in any light – even direct sunlight. With our best display and true-to-life color reproduction, we provide you a purer full-framed viewing experience. Our display avoids the cropped pictures or distorted colors at the edge that are the results you can expect from a curved screen.
  • Plus, HTC U11 is water-resistant3, so no need to worry about splashes, spills, or dunks.

Tuned to U

  • HTC U11 introduces the latest version of HTC USonic, which now combines Active Noise Cancellation with the ability to tune audio to your unique hearing. By leveraging built-in microphones on the headset and USB-C data connectivity, USonic earbuds map your inner ear with an advanced sonar-like technology and then adapt the sound profile to your unique biology. This creates an incredibly personal and optimized listening experience with vibrant audio shaped specifically for you.
  • USonic now incorporates Active Noise Cancellation, which reduces disruptions and distractions around you, so you can stay focused on your music. Active Noise Cancellation continuously monitors environmental sound levels, and quickly adjusts to any new noises or disturbances. You're free to stay focused on your music, videos, or games
  • HTC BoomSound Hi-Fi Edition speakers got an upgrade, too. We've improved the speaker design to deliver more loudness and better Dynamic Range Audio. On top, the tweeter now offers an acoustic chamber that allows the highs and mids to sound richer. While below, the woofer sports a new speaker and improved magnetic circuit design for louder, clearer and deeper bass tones. You really have to hear it to believe the power of BoomSound.
  • We didn't forget to upgrade the microphones, either, using four optimally positioned omnidirectional microphones together with our new Acoustic Focus technology, HTC brings you our best 3D audio recording quality yet. HTC U11's microphones work together to record audio from all directions, and when shooting video with Acoustic Focus, you can visually zoom in to target your subject and amplify their specific sounds.
  • Out of the box, we will also ship an HTC USB-C to 3.5mm adapter with a built-in DAC that offers great audio performance and wide compatibility with all other devices and earphones.

Pictures that move U

  • HTC U11 has achieved the highest ever rating for a smartphone camera for both photo and video by independent metric DxOMark4. Our multi-axis optical stabilization system and super-fast autofocus in all lighting conditions make the camera quick, your pictures sharp, and videos smooth. We improved our camera and video for a more dynamic exposure range with HDR Boost without the lag, new white balance enhancement, a major reduction in noise, and excellent detail preservation.
  • HTC U11 introduces Auto HDR Boost to give you all the benefits of HDR without the lag. HDR Boost offers clearer, more balanced pictures by taking multiple shots that measure the darkest shadows and brightest highlights without any slowdown. HTC U11 enhances textures and colors, increases visible detail and brings out the best in every shot. When shooting video, Temporal Noise Reduction automatically uses information from the previous and next frames to remove unwanted noise and deliver the clearest video.
  • Great news for serious photographers: HTC U11 incorporates the new UltraSpeed AutoFocus with same full sensor auto-focus technology that's found in top DSLR cameras, so you can enjoy significantly faster focus speeds, with snappy and delightful performance. In addition, HTC U11's exceptional optical and electronic stabilization system will keep your photos and video steady and crisp even when your hand is shaking.
  • The new front camera now combines high-resolution 16MP detail and our UltraPixel light sensitivity for brilliant selfies day or night. It also utilizes the same powerful HDR Boost and noise reduction as the main camera.

The smarter digital companion for U

  • Three brains are better than one, so inside HTC U11 you can find three intelligent companions devoted to you: HTC Sense Companion, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa2. In mainland China, HTC U11 also offers Baidu DuerOS.
  • We've made HTC Sense Companion smarter than ever: it will get to know you and your daily patterns over time in order to offer you more convenience every day. For example, HTC Sense Companion is smart enough to notice if you have any late appointments that day and will remind you to recharge while you have time or bring a power bank. It will make sure your phone is running at its optimum speed by suggesting to clear junk files and unused apps for more free space. It will let you know if you need to dress for inclement weather conditions, track your fitness progress relative to your goals, recommend great nearby restaurants at mealtime, and much more5.
  • HTC U11 runs the latest version of Android, so it also includes Google Assistant, the helpful personal assistant powered by Google se arch and services for finding directions, getting answers, managing your tasks, planning your day, and entertainment.
  • HTC U11 is also the first smartphone on the market to feature hands-free wake word access to Amazon Alexa. By simply asking questions such as "Alexa, what's the weather today?" or saying things like, "Alexa, turn on my living room lights," Alexa will respond to your needs anywhere you go, making it easy to control smart home products, ask for news, weather, music, and the 12,000-plus skills in the Alexa skills store. The Alexa voice service is currently available to customers in the United States, U.K., and Germany.
  • And in mainland China, HTC and Baidu DuerOS have built a strategic partnership to create a voice-based virtual assistant with speech recognition and voice interaction to satisfy Chinese users' needs, which can better understand Chinese people and help them find what they want.

Powerful U

  • HTC U11 is the first smartphone to be commercially released worldwide that is exclusively powered by the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 835 Mobile Platform. So no matter what region of the world you live in, you get an octa-core processor with breakthrough speeds, jaw-dropping graphics, impressively smooth performance and outstanding battery life. Every HTC U11 also includes UFS 2.1 for an extremely fast processor paired with the fastest memory performance. Experience Gigabit Class LTE (up to 1Gbps) with the integrated Snapdragon X16 LTE modem, which is designed to deliver fiber optic speeds on the go for lightning-fast music and video downloads and to get almost instant access to the web, social media sites or your content in the cloud. You get 25% faster graphics than the HTC 10, with 35% or 3 hours more video playback, 30% or 8 hours more music playback and 43% or 3.5 hours longer web browsing time via a LTE network6.
  • A blazing fast processor with amazing camera and incredible HTC USonic sound means you'll want a lot of storage for apps, games, photos, music, and entertainment: HTC U11 offers 4GB RAM/64GB storage and 6GB RAM/128GB storage options, so fun on your phone is always available.
  • HTC U11 also offers a fingerprint reader for enhanced privacy and security. Requiring just a few minutes to set up, the fingerprint reader will unlock your phone with the press of your finger – making it faster and easier to jot the note, capture the photo, or do anything you want with your phone on a moment's notice.

The HTC U11, available in Amazing Silver, Sapphire Blue, Brilliant Black, Ice White, and Solar Red, and will be available worldwide from May 2017 onward. Please see htc.com for detailed specifications and more information.

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2 months ago

Moto G5 Plus vs. Honor 6X: The ultimate budget battle

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Just because the big-name phones get all the attention, that shouldn't preclude excellent devices like the Moto G5 Plus and Honor 6X from getting their fair shake. At under $300 each, both phones certainly have trade-offs compared to their more expensive counterparts, but each manages to bring a certain something, from fantastic performance and software to superb battery life and great camera optics, to make them worth your time.

At least that's what Jacklyn says in her latest video, finding it hard to choose a winner.

Which phone would get your money? Leave a comment below with your favorite, and while you're at it, go subscribe to AC's YouTube channel if you haven't already!

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2 months ago

Best Phone For Gamers

Update May 2017: The Samsung Galaxy S8 has surpassed the Galaxy S7 as the best phone for gamers — but the GS7 is still remains a great option! Moto Z Play is still the best for battery life, and the HTC 10 still has the best touch responsiveness.

Best overall

Samsung Galaxy S8

See at Amazon   See at AT&T   See at Sprint  See at T-Mobile   See at Verizon

It should come as little surprise that the Samsung Galaxy S7 has been dethroned as the best phone for gamers by its follow up, the Galaxy S8. Whether you go with the Galaxy S8 or the slightly larger S8+, you'll be getting an outstanding device that can handle pretty much any game you throw at it.

It features a brilliant AMOLED display capable of scaling up to QHD+ resolution — that's 2960 x 1440. Depending on your region, the Galaxy S8 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or Samsung Exynos 8895 processor with a beefy 3,000 mAh battery tucked into the phone's thin frame. It combines beautiful design with raw processing power to create a phone that delivers all the gaming action you can handle with nary a hiccup in gameplay.

On top of just being a fantastic phone with top-tier specs and a brilliant display, Samsung has done a great job of revamping the Game Tools first introduced on the S7. If you're serious about mobile gaming and can afford the upgrade, the Galaxy S8 or S8+ is a quality investment to make.

Bottom line: Samsung has done a better job integrating Game Tools features with the Galaxy S8. On top of that, it's easily the best phone you can buy right now.

One more thing: Make sure to turn on the setting that stretches the game to fill the Galaxy S8's unique aspect ratio.

Why the Samsung Galaxy S8 is the best

The best just keeps getting better.

What else can we say? Samsung has gone in and improved nearly every aspect of the things that made the Galaxy S7 the best phone for gamers in 2016, making the Galaxy S8 and easy pick in 2017. The Samsung Galaxy S8 has all physical components needed to handle the most resource-hogging games in the Google Play Store.

Both Game Launcher and Game Tools are back and better than ever, with Samsung making strides to improve their integration into the overall experience of the phone. Game Tools especially, which has been built into the navigation bar and appears any time you load up a game. It includes the same features for turning off distracting notifications while also including important new features for addressing the curved edges of the screen and temporarily turning off the "invisible" home button so you don't accidentally press it during gameplay. If you're the type that likes to stream as you game, you'll love the built-in screen recorder tools which let you record at 720p and use the front-facing camera to record your reactions as you play.

Simply put, the Galaxy S8 is packed with all the specs and features you need for the gaming performance you desire.

Best value

Samsung Galaxy S7

See at Amazon   See at AT&T   See at Sprint  See at T-Mobile   See at Verizon

Samsung's 2016 flagship is still a great phone to pick up in 2017, and you'll be able to get one at a discounted price with the Galaxy S8 now available.

Featuring a brilliant 5.1-inch AMOLED display powered by a Snapdragon 820 chipset and 4GB of RAM, the S7 will have your games looking great and running smooth as butter no matter how much of a resource hog they happen to be. With 64GB of on-board storage and a dedicated microSD slot you should easily be able to load up all your favorite games. Not only will current games run will on this phone, but Samsung's decision to jump ahead of Google in supporting Vulkan APIs for higher quality gameplay meant the S7 was among the first to usher in a new wave of graphically superior mobile games.

On top of all the standard features that make the S7 an outstanding device, Samsung's software includes built-in features that make gaming both fun and social. If you're a serious gamer, you'll definitely want to dive into the advanced settings and turn on the Game Launcher and Game Tools. They help to optimize the phone for gaming so you never feel bogged down or distracted from your game, and let you share that game with others through live streaming.

Bottom line: The Samsung Galaxy S7 was seemingly designed to be a gamer's best friend, from the top-tier hardware to its convenient software tools for gaming.

One more thing: There are deals to be had for the Galaxy S7 as carriers and electronics stores look to clear out last year's flagship.

Best for battery life

Moto Z Play

See at Motorola

We've all dealt with the battery drain of extended gaming sessions when you're gaming on the go. There's nothing worse than getting all caught up in the heat of the action, only to have a low battery warning ruin things. If you suffer from battery anxiety when gaming off charger, the Moto Z Play is the perfect device to alleviate that stress.

The latest in Motorola's modular lineup, the Moto Z Play comes with a massive 3,510 mAh battery that's optimized by a more efficient processor and a lower-resolution display. Granted this your display won't get quite as bright as other displays, but the color calibration and viewing angles remain great. You'll definitely enjoy the outstanding extended battery life you'll get in exchange. When it's time to top up, you'll be able to give your phone up to 9 hours of charge in just 15 minutes with Motorola's TurboPower wall charger.

Still not enough power? Take advantage of the Moto Z Play's modular design and slap on the Incipio offGRID Power Pack and add an extra 2,260 mAh battery to your phone, along with charging efficiency and the added ability to wirelessly charge both the pack and your phone.

All this battery life business would be pointless if the Moto Z Play was a pain to use, but fortunately that's not the case. As AC's Daniel Bader wrote in his Moto Z Play review, if you're a fan of the Motorola's past offerings — including their handy gesture and voice controls — you'll be happy to know they're all present in the Moto Z Play.

Bottom line: Starting at just over $400, the Moto Z Play is the perfect companion for the mobile gamer with battery anxiety.

One more thing: Other awesome Moto Mods available for the Moto Z Play include a JBL Soundboost speaker, Hassleblad True Zoom camera mod and the Moto InstaShare Projector.

Best for touch responsiveness

HTC 10

See at HTC

Serious gamers know that input lag is simply unacceptable. Any amount of lag can have a devastating effect whether it's a coming down to a photo finish, or a frantic deathmatch shootout. While traditional gaming allows for full controller customization (whether we're talking keyboard and mouse or controller), mobile gaming on a touch screen ultimately relies on the touch responsiveness of the sensors on the phone.

In that regard, there's no better phone than the HTC 10. With its 2016 flagship, HTC boasts the 10 has the lowest touch latency of any smartphone on the market — iPhones included. While that's not typically a frequently touted spec, it does make a difference for gaming.

Beyond touch responsiveness, as mentioned in our official review the HTC 10 is a fairly impressive phone that features outstanding high-definition audio output, a capable 12 megapixel camera, and fast performance thanks to the Quad-core 2.2 GHz Snapdragon 820 processor and 4GB RAM. It's all wrapped up in an aluminum unibody design with a curved back that's ergonomically designed to fit comfortably in your hand.

Bottom line: Never blame your poor performances on lag again with the super responsive HTC 10.

One more thing: The beautifully designed HTC 10 is available in three stylish colours: Carbon Gray, Glacier Silver, and Topaz Gold.

Conclusion

For the best Android gaming experience, look no further than the Galaxy S8. It's got all the top-end specs you need to any game in the Google Play Store at the highest settings, and that's not going to change anytime soon. If battery life is your biggest concern, the Moto Z Play is your best bet, especially with an optional Moto Mod to expand that battery life further. If you think lag is a real drag, the HTC 10's touch responsiveness is what you want.

Best overall

Samsung Galaxy S8

See at AT&T   See at Sprint See at T-Mobile See at Verizon

It should come as little surprise that the Samsung Galaxy S7 has been dethroned as the best phone for gamers by its follow up, the Galaxy S8. Whether you go with the Galaxy S8 or the slightly larger S8+, you'll be getting an outstanding device that can handle pretty much any game you throw at it.

It features a brilliant AMOLED display capable of scaling up to QHD+ resolution — that's 2960 x 1440. Depending on your region, the Galaxy S8 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or Samsung Exynos 8895 processor with a beefy 3,000 mAh battery tucked into the phone's thin frame. It combines beautiful design with raw processing power to create a phone that delivers all the gaming action you can handle with nary a hiccup in gameplay.

On top of just being a fantastic phone with top-tier specs and a brilliant display, Samsung has done a great job of revamping the Game Tools first introduced on the S7. If you're serious about mobile gaming and can afford the upgrade, the Galaxy S8 or S8+ is a quality investment to make.

Bottom line: Samsung has done a better job integrating Game Tools features with the Galaxy S8. On top of that, it's easily the best phone you can buy right now.

One more thing: Make sure to turn on the setting that stretches the game to fill the Galaxy S8's unique aspect ratio.

Android Gaming

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2 months ago

Samsung DeX does a pretty good job turning the Galaxy S8 into a desktop

37

Samsung's "desktop experience" is not only a curious concept, but it's quickly becoming something I like to use.

There's more to the Galaxy S8 an S8+ than its vibrant screen, cascading glass edges, and shiny back cover. Samsung would also like you to try its new Android-powered phone to unlock a desktop operating system that can be used on a whim.

The Samsung DeX — which stands for desktop experience is a hockey-puck shaped dock with a pop-up cooling fan for the Galaxy S8 and various ports for the necessary peripherals. We've talked about Dex before, but we haven't been able to actively try one until now.

I've been using the $150 device for casual tasks for the last few days, and it's already got me fooled. I keep turning to my monitor thinking that it's my Mac plugged into it — and then I start using it. DeX looks and feels like Mac OS (it's more like Windows 10, actually), but it's when you attempt to deviate off the path that you realize there are limitations.

The Samsung DeX dock.

The honeymoon period

Samsung DeX is exceptionally easy to set up and it's way easier than setting up a brand new computer. Granted, I've already put in the leg work of setting up the Galaxy S8+ in the way that I like it, and downloaded the apps that I like to use, but isn't it neat to be able to set up something once and then have it work like a desktop, too? DeX is definitely meant for anyone who thinks so.

Samsung dex dock

Various ports on the DeX include an Ethernet port, USB Type-C, and HDMI.

As I was saying, DeX requires no learning curve to set up. I paired the Galaxy S8+ with a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard, and then plugged in the HDMI cable from the monitor into the dock. Once the interface appeared on the monitor, my trained computer-brain instinctively knew what to do from there.

It's neat to be able to set up something once and then have it work like a desktop, too.

DeX uses the same navigations buttons and imagery as its Android interface to denote the different parts of the operating system. For instance, there's the apps drawer icon in the corner, right next to the recent apps screen icon and the Home button, in its simple squareness. Move your eyes a bit to the right, and you'll start to see squircles populated with the icons of any apps that were already fired up and ready to go before the Galaxy S8+ was plugged in.

Click for a closer look at the DeX interface.

There are also some apps that won't even launch at all, like Spotify.

As you launch apps, they'll pop up in their own individual windows just as they would on any regular desktop operating system. You can minimize and maximize the windows, too, though you can't resize all apps. Any apps that are coded specifically for smartphones will remain in that form, while apps that were coded for multiple screen sizes will have an easier time conforming to the DeX interface. There are also some apps that won't even launch at all, like Spotify, because they aren't optimized for anything like the DeX format.

Some of the apps are properly optimized for DeX, though, and those are pleasant to use. Adobe Lightroom Mobile, for instance, lets me work in a variety of window sizes, and the Slack app, which is optimized for tablets, lets me use a mouse right-click in the selection field like on the desktop version.

Multiple apps on Dex

Multiple apps screens on the DeX interface!

Any apps that don't work well with DeX just go unused, for the most part. Or, I'll turn my chair the other way and get back to work with the MacBook Pro. I'm still uneasy about the concept of getting work done with this sort of desktop experience, especially since I'm still have trouble finding a productivity groove with the Chromebook Flip.

I don't think that Samsung intends for DeX to replace your full computer, however – not in this implementation, at least. But I do intend to explore what else a DeX can do besides help you get some work done.

See at Amazon

Got questions?

If you've got questions about the Samsung DeX experience, let us know below! We'll be posting our review in the coming weeks.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Unlocked

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2 months ago

These cheap adapters let you use your old Micro-USB cables with USB-C

61

They're not expensive, but it would be a good idea for more companies to bundle a USB Type-C adapter in the box.

Updated May 2017: This post was updated with additional information and refreshed links.

Over the course of 2016, most phones have transitioned from Micro-USB to USB-C. The change is ultimately good, both for charging speeds and convenience. But what about all those old Micro-USB cables you have in a drawer somewhere? Should you just throw them away? No, you need a USB Type-C to Micro-USB adapter, which makes it easy to use all of those legacy cables.

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2 months ago

Where to buy the LG G6 in the U.S.

85
LG G6

You can now buy the LG G6 in the U.S.

Updated, May 15: This post was last updated with new pricing and the latest offers from U.S. carriers and retailers.

One of our favorite phones of 2017 so far is now available on American shores. The big four U.S. carriers have started selling the LG G6. Here's how much you'll be paying.

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2 months ago

You can now buy an unlocked LG G6 in the U.S., but should you?

59

An unlocked model of the LG G6 is now on sale in the U.S. But should you buy one?

I have to admit something: even though I've had a Galaxy S8 in my pocket for a couple weeks now, I keep thinking of going back to the LG G6. It's not just that the fingerprint sensor is in a better position, or that it's a little easier to use with one hand, but because the dual camera setup is just so enticing, especially as I'm about to leave for Google I/O and its sweeping Northern California vistas.

Well, if you're looking to pick up an LG G6 but don't want a carrier variant (and all the bloatware it entails), you can now buy an unlocked version from Amazon, B&H or Best Buy.

The phone, model number US997, is compatible with all four major U.S. carriers, and comes with no pre-loaded carrier software. And while it may not be specifically optimized for one particular network — you'll lose some T-Mobile or Verizon-specific enhancements — in exchange you get one of the leanest ways to run an LG phone.

It's also considerably cheaper, at $599, than the equivalent unlocked Galaxy S8, which begins at $725, though for that you get an extra 32GB of storage and a faster processor, but who's counting? The LG G6 stands up in many ways to the Galaxy S8 where it counts: overall user experience.

If you're interested in the unlocked LG G6, let us know in the comments below!

Where to buy the LG G6 in the U.S.

LG G6

Verizon Sprint T-Mobile AT&T B&H

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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2 months ago

Best Cases For Honor 8

17

What are the best cases you can buy today for the Honor 8?

Updated May 2017: The Vinve and Dwaybox cases mentioned previously were swapped out for the Spigen and Sparin options.

The Honor 8, as made by Huawei, is one of the most attractive budget smartphones available right now. Take care of it by housing it in one of these recommended cases.

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2 months ago

Best Medium-Sized Android Phone

Update, May 2017: The Galaxy S8 is now our favorite medium-sized phone, and we've added the LG G6 to the list.

Best overall

Samsung Galaxy S8

See at Verizon See at AT&T See at T-Mobile See at Sprint See at Best Buy

The Galaxy S8 is an easy pick for best medium-sized phone, because it's currently our favorite phone and the one that is most likely going to feel substantial while remaining easy to use in one hand. That's owed to the beautiful, extra-tall 18.5:9 screen that delivers some of the best visuals we've ever seen on a phone.

Add to that a whip-fast Snapdragon 835 chip and plenty of specs to keep early adopters happy and you have some of nicest hardware on the market today. More surprising (in a good way) is Samsung's software, which continues to improve year over year, even if it does stuff a million and one features in the settings.

Bottom line: The Galaxy S8 does most things right so even its negatives are easily to overlook.

One more thing: If you've got the extra room in your pocket or hands, the Galaxy S8+ is a nice size boost over the S8.

Why the Galaxy S8 is the best

You get more for your money with the GS8.

Everyone has their preference, but I think most people would agree that the Galaxy S8 is one of the best-looking phones on the market today. The way the curved glass meets the aluminum sides — 👌. But here's the thing: if it were just aesthetic, the Galaxy S8 wouldn't be on this list. For all of its quirks — the displacement of the fingerprint sensor to the back, and the unreliable face unlock that replaces it — the phone is rock solid in almost every other respect.

Great touch response; amazing color accuracy; incredible camera; awesome battery life. And the Galaxy S8 manages to pack in 64GB of internal storage as standard, which is more than the iPhone and the LG G6, along with wireless charging and water resistance. There aren't a lot of things this phone can't do. It also manages to stay pretty easy to use in one hand, thanks to its taller-yet-narrower 18.5:9 aspect ratio.

Best for simplicity

Google Pixel XL

See at Google See at Verizon

While the Samsung Galaxy S8 comes with a number of additional software features, in addition to sporting expandable storage and water resistance, the Pixel XL makes up for those shortcomings with the potent combination of speed, battery life, screen quality and camera performance. In fact, the Pixel XL still takes some of the best low-light photos we've ever seen in a phone.

And because Google engineers Android itself, the Pixel is all but guaranteed the quickest software updates, with the latest features. Right now, Android 7.1 boasts improvements to notifications, multitasking and the home screen, with features that make a meaningful difference to users' lives, and it will be the first to get Android O later this year.

Bottom line: The Google Pixel XL is one of the best phones you can buy today — if you can find it. Not only is the camera incredible, the software simple-but-powerful, and the performance unparalleled, but Google's 24/7 support and quick software updates are unmatched in the Android ecosystem.

One more thing: The Pixel XL also has a smaller sibling, the Pixel, which shaves some screen size and resolution for some one-handed love.

Best for camera buffs

LG G6

See at Verizon See at AT&T See at T-Mobile See at Sprint See at B&H

This list wouldn't be complete without the Comeback King of 2017, the LG G6. This phone makes up in almost every way for the misfire of the G5, and once again positions LG as the main competition with its South Korean rival, Samsung. The G6 may not have the fastest chip on the market — it ships with the Snapdragon 821 — but everything else, from the software to the camera setup, is completely modern.

Indeed, the camera setup may be a good reason to pick this over the Galaxy S8; its dual cameras offer both a "normal" field of view as well as an ultra-wide lens that makes for incredible landscape photos. A beefy manual mode and excellent sound capture round out the G6's excellent optical pedigree, though the phone is fundamentally sound in other ways, too. Its 18:9 aspect ratio screen is nearly as good as the S8's, as its fingerprint sensor is much easier to reach.

Bottom line: The G6 keeps up with the Galaxy S8 in almost every way, and surpasses it in the camera department.

One more thing: The North American G6 comes with wireless charging, which is a bonus, but all models are waterproof.

Best on a budget

OnePlus 3T

See at OnePlus

The OnePlus 3T does everything well — that's what you need to know first. At $439, you get a lot for your money — it's a nice little boost over the still-excellent OnePlus 3 — and its all-metal chassis doesn't feel overly large despite the ample 5.5-inch screen size. And that's what you're looking for in a big phone: one that doesn't feel like a brick in your hand.

OnePlus did a great job improving the internals in the OnePlus 3T: the 5.5-inch Full HD display is vivid and bright, and the quad-core Snapdragon 821 paired with 6GB of RAM makes the phone a formidable performer — even more so when you consider the $439 price point. While it lacks the little things that add up to justify the S8's extra cost — water resistance, expandable storage, and a high-quality QHD display — the OnePlus 3T is without compromises, which is something we're really happy to see at this price tier.

Bottom-line: With a big, bright 5.5-inch screen, a great camera, excellent build quality, and loads of nice software touches, the OnePlus 3T is one of the best smartphone deals you can find today.

One more thing: The OnePlus 3T runs Android 7.1.1, which is newer than the software that ships on the Galaxy S8 and LG G6.

Conclusion

The Galaxy S8 may not seem like a medium-sized phone, but that's because its tall screen is deceptive. In fact, this phone is easy to use in one hand (and has a great one-handed mode to make it even easier) along with a spec sheet for days. While the Pixel XL is still our favorite for simplicity, the G6 takes some amazing photos, and the OnePlus 3T is a perfect budget option, the S8 does more than all, and most things better.

Best overall

Samsung Galaxy S8

See at Verizon See at AT&T See at T-Mobile See at Sprint

The Galaxy S8 is an easy pick for best medium-sized phone, because it's currently our favorite phone and the one that is most likely going to feel substantial while remaining easy to use in one hand. That's owed to the beautiful, extra-tall 18.5:9 screen that delivers some of the best visuals we've ever seen on a phone. Add to that a whip-fast Snapdragon 835 chip and plenty of specs to keep early adopters happy and you have some of nicest hardware on the market today. More surprising (in a good way) is Samsung's software, which continues to improve year over year, even if it does stuff a million and one features in the settings.

Bottom line: The Galaxy S8 does most things right, and even its negatives are easily to overlook.

One more thing: If you've got the extra room in your pocket or hands, the Galaxy S8+ is a nice size boost over the S8.

Note: This list is of medium-sized phones, mainly between 5.3 inches and 5.8 inches. We also have a list of the best small phones, and the best large phones.

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2 months ago

Huawei Mate 9 gets two new colors in China

6

New 'Agate Red' and 'Topaz Blue' hues make the Mate 9 more colorful.

Huawei's Mate 9, now six months old, has stood the test of time well, continuing to rank among the best big-screened Android phones you can buy. Today the Chinese firm has launched two new Mate 9 colors in its home market — Agate Red and Topaz Blue. It's not unusual for Huawei to roll out new colors to refresh a product mid-cycle, and the push towards more vibrant hues echoes what we've seen from the P10, which has its own broad color palette.

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2 months ago

Best Unlimited Data Plan

81

Unlimited plans are back, but which one is the best?

All four major U.S. carriers offer an unlimited data plan again. After years of hearing how they were unable to provide unlimited data to every customer and maintain the quality of service they wanted, new technology and a more competitive market means an 180-degree turnaround was in order and here we are.

We've previously written about how most people just don't need unlimited data, and you should have a look if you have any questions about how much you should spend or how much data you need. But if you're sure you need all the data you can get each and every month, let's look at which company you should give your business to. We'll start with a quick look at what each company has to offer and what it will cost you.

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AT&T

Feature Cost Price for single line $90 for Unlimited Plus
$60 for Unlimited Choice (data speeds are capped at 3M/s) Price for two lines $145 for Unlimited Plus
$115 for Unlimited Choice Additional lines $20 each (wearables are $10)

AT&T's more expensive Unlimited Plus plan comes with some extra features that are definitely worth mentioning:

  • Unlimited talk and text to Canada and Mexico
  • Advanced messaging between compatible phones on the AT&T network
  • Unlimited talk, text, and data in Canada and Mexico with the free "Roam North America" feature
  • $25 monthly credit for DirecTV services
  • 10 GB mobile hotspot (tethering)

Like most carriers, the monthly fees don't include tax or regulatory fees and you may have other costs if you get your phone from AT&T.

Sprint

Feature Cost Price for single line $50 Price for two lines $90 Additional lines Free (with the current promotion) for phones
Tablets are $25 per month

Sprint's Unlimited Freedom plan also comes with these extras included in the monthly bill:

  • Unlimited data for streaming video up to 1080p
  • Unlimited data for gaming up to 8Mbps
  • Unlimited data for streaming music up to 1.5Mbps
  • 10 GB mobile hotspot (tethering)

Again, you'll need to pay taxes and fees on top of these prices and equipment fees aren't included.

T-Mobile

Feature Cost Price for single line $70 Price for two lines $100 Additional lines $40 for the third line
$20 each for more

T-Mobile has a lot of feature fine print that goes with their T-Mobile ONE plan, and it might make a difference:

  • 200MB of roaming data per month
  • Unlimited talk, text, and data in Canada and Mexico
  • One hour of free Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi and unlimited texting on enabled flights
  • Unlimited data and texting in over 140 locations at 2x speed (264kbps) (limited time offer)
  • Unlimited music and HD video streaming (limited time offer, applies only in the U.S.)
  • 10 GB mobile hotspot (limited time offer)

As of May 2017, T-Mobile has a deal where you can add a third line for free if you have two or more lines on an account. There is no word when this promo or any other features listed as limited time offers will end. One big thing with T-Mobile is that you pay the price listed above each month — the taxes and fees are built into the plan price.

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Verizon

Feature Cost Price for single line $80 Price for two lines $140 Additional lines $162 for three phones
$180 for four phones
Tablets are $20 per month
Other connected devices are $5 per month

Here's what else you get for your money each month on Verizon plans:

  • 10 GB mobile hotspot (tethering)
  • Unlimited "HD" (optimized for lower data usage) streaming video (see Verizon's Video Optimization Deployment page)
  • Unlimited calling and texting to and from Canada and Mexico

As with most other carriers, you're paying taxes and fees each month on top of the list price and equipment fees aren't built into these prices.

The best unlimited wireless plan

There are a few things in common with all four carriers: The listed prices in all advertisements are for customers who use autopay for their monthly bill. Each carrier slows down your data to 3G speeds once you hit a cap on data, which is right around 20GB per line. And no carrier guarantees great coverage, no matter what their coverage maps might say.

T-Mobile offers the best unlimited plan in the U.S.

Overall, T-Mobile has the best unlimited plan you can buy. We considered price, coverage, and features equally and while we can't say T-Mobile will work for everyone, it's where you should look first. Here's how we reached the decision.

  • Which companies offer the coverage you need? Having a cheap cell phone bill isn't so great if your phone doesn't work where you need it to work. There are large areas of the U.S. where T-Mobile has no coverage at all but for the most part these are rural areas. While we think rural areas are awesome, we can't ignore that T-Mobile does offer coverage where most people live. If total coverage is your main criteria when buying an unlimited plan, you should have a look at Verizon.

  • How much are your monthly taxes and fees going to be? In some places, these extra fees will add up. When you add upwards of $30 (or more) to each month's bill, T-Mobile bundling them into the plan price might make a difference. Once you add in all the fees that find their way into your monthly bill, there probably won't be much difference between Sprint and T-Mobile unless you have three or more lines. Sprint is cheaper, but T-Mobile picking up the tab for those fees makes a big difference.

  • Do you need any of the other services that come with a particular plan? If you have to pay extra for things like texting or calling people in other countries be sure to add those costs into the price unless it's included in the plan. T-Mobile offers roaming data, calls, texts and data in all of North America as well as texting and data in 140 other places around the world. They even offer free in-flight Wi-Fi with Gogo. This is a great set of useful extras.

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The best news is that everything here is subject to change at any time! Because the market has become so competitive for unlimited data, companies will constantly be adjusting prices and features. When one company makes a move the rest will soon follow with their own new pricing or other offers.

We'll keep things updated here as changes happen and maybe next month we'll be recommending a different company.

See at T-Mobile

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